Created By: KingZeal on August 21, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on June 8, 2017

Gadget Wear

Impossibly Cool Clothes decked out with cutting-edge technology.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Alternate Title: Soft Wear

Original title: Digital Fashion

Needs Launching Votes

One of the key points of 20th and 21st-Century technology has been how to miniaturize and combine all of the gadgetry we've become dependent upon in everyday life. On any given person, it may be possible to find a time-telling device, MP3 player, a cellular phone, a portable gaming device, or personal self-defense doodads, and that's not even getting to the mundane stuff like keys, writing utensils, identification, credit cards, transit passes, and plain old cash.

Fortunately, technology has figured out how to combine some of these (most "Smart phones" are capable of playing M P3s and gaming, amongst countless other uses you can download apps for), but in Speculative Fiction and Science Fiction, it's possible to find clothing that does all kinds of crazy stuff. This trope is what happens when you find something just shy of Powered Armor and Clothes Make the Superman.

Super Trope of Goggles Do Something Unusual, See-Thru Specs, and Shoe Phone. The latter is used exclusively for spy gear, though. This trope is for high-tech wear which has been commercialized or made commonplace, i.e. "fashion".


Examples

Anime & Manga
  • AR goggles (along with literal digital accessories and equipment) are a major feature of Dennou Coil.

Film

Literature
  • In Skinned, almost all clothing changes colors or glows or is in some way tech. Those that don't wear tech clothing are generally considered outcasts in one way or another.
  • In Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End, teenagers in the future wear clothes that connect them to the internet, along with specialized contact lenses that can overlay graphics onto the real world (i.e. Augmented Reality).

Music

Tabletop RPG
  • R. Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk had a number of these products in its Chromebook supplements.
    • Nu Tek video clothing - displays video (TV, movies, etc.).
    • Light (Illumi) Panels - Parts of your clothing light up.
    • Dance Bracelets - When you move, the bracelets play accompanying music.
    • Polychromic clothing - Can change colors on command.

Web Comics

Real Life
  • Wrist watches are one of the earliest examples of this trope, to the point that wearing a stylish (and/or expensive one) is basically a fashion statement.
  • It's possible to use conductive thread (i.e. thread which conducts electricity like electric wires) to sew circuits (with LEDs and the like) into clothes, much to the gratification of people who wish to cosplay the fictional examples of this trope.
  • It's hard not to be impressed when someone walks in from outside wearing sunglasses, and after a few minutes revert to wearing their prescription spectacles. Transitionals are the coolest damn thing.
  • Snowboard manufacturer Burton made a jacket years ago that had an iPod interface in the inside pocket so your pod was snug and safe while riding, speakers in the collar so you could share the muzak on chairlifts, and ffwd/rwd/pause/play controls built into the fabric of the sleeve. Way cool.

Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • August 25, 2011
    KingZeal
    Bump?
  • August 26, 2011
    Bisected8
    • All over the place with Vocaloids. Justified by the fact that they are virtual.
  • August 26, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Not sure if this fits or not, but:

    • In Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End, teenagers in the future wear clothes that connect them to the internet, along with specialized contact lenses that can overlay graphics onto the real world (i.e. Augmented Reality).
  • August 26, 2011
    Bisected8
  • August 27, 2011
    Josech
    In WALL-E, the humans change the color of their standard-issue jumpsuits with a click of a button.
  • August 27, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Also in real-life, this troper is repeatedly impressed when someone walks in from outside wearing Sunglasses, and after a few minutes revert to wearing their prescription spectacles. Transitionals are the coolest damn thing.
  • August 27, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Literature
    • In Skinned, almost all clothing changes colors or glows or is in some way tech. Those that don't wear tech clothing are generally considered outcasts in one way or another.
  • August 27, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I don't thing "digital" is a good word to use, here. Digital=virtual, as in it exists in some nebulous space in a computer, it does not equal "Advanced technology", or "hooked up to the internet".
  • August 27, 2011
    KingZeal
    Digital does NOT mean virtual.

    In any case, it's named after the concept that modern technology is based upon miniaturization and digital process.
  • August 30, 2011
    Bisected8
    Strictly speaking, digital means either "based on discrete values (i.e. as opposed to analogue)" or to do with fingers and toes. While computers and other advanced electronics tend to be digital, it's not set in stone; it's perfectly possible for a device to use an analogue circuit (particularly input devices and storage media) and many individual parts of digital electronics are analogue (e.g. thermistors and any other type of variable resistor, touch screens, analogue sticks). Of course all data stored on a computer is done so digitally and pretty much an electronic device will have an IC in it (which is digital since it's built from logic circuits).

    ...so you're technically both correct and incorrect at the same time...

    Could I suggest Cyber Wear (or Soft Wear or a similar pun) as a title?
  • August 30, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Gadget Wear would open it up to Steampunk type stuff as well.
  • August 31, 2011
    tryer
    Soft Wear is a very clever pun and I like it, but without knowing what it means it isn't very descriptive. I'd have to vote either Gadget Wear or Cyber Wear
  • September 25, 2011
    Bisected8
    What about Software Wear (it keeps the pun while remaining clearer)?
  • September 26, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • R. Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk had a number of these products in its Chromebook supplements.
      • Nu Tek video clothing - displays video (TV, movies, etc.).
      • Light (Illumi) Panels - Parts of your clothing light up.
      • Dance Bracelets - When you move, the bracelets play accompanying music.
      • Polychromic clothing - Can change colors on command.
  • September 26, 2011
    SonofRojBlake
    Real life: Snowboard manufacturer Burton made a jacket years ago that had an iPod interface in the inside pocket so your pod was snug and safe while riding, speakers in the collar so you could share the muzak on chairlifts, and ffwd/rwd/pause/play controls built into the fabric of the sleeve. Way cool.

  • October 23, 2011
    KingZeal
    Launching tomorrow, but I would like a few more examples before I do.
  • October 23, 2011
    GreenMachine
    I definitely don't think Soft Wear fits, because that's talking about what runs on the gadgets. If there would be any redirect along those lines...maybe Hard Wear?

    I can't think of any examples, sorry... Oh, I do remember hearing on the radio one day about some guy who went years with various pieces of kit pretty much connected to him. Chances are it was quite bulky, judging from the time period he was talking about. I remember things like him waiting to cross the street before e-mailing/chatting with someone. He eventually grew tired of being constantly connected to everyone, and so ceased wearing all of it. He now cautions people about staying too connected by being always online, as he experienced the downsides of it years earlier. It was on CBC Radio. Can't remember his name, sorry.
  • October 23, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Fashion Tech or Techno Fashion maybe.

    • Old Navy has the iPod hoodie, which has ipod headphones built into the drawstrings for the hood.
  • October 24, 2011
    yrrw
    This idea is definitely present in the Culture novels by Iain M Banks, but right at this point, I can't think of a specific example. If someone can help out with that, great, if not, feel free to ignore this example.
  • October 24, 2011
    KZN02
  • February 27, 2012
    benjamminsam
    The current title is far better than the other two.

    Real life: Google is on the brink of releasing sunglasses with a live heads-up display on an Android-like interface.

    There have to be more examples from fiction...
  • February 27, 2012
    Kinkajou
    Live Action Film: The eponymous suit from The Tuxedo.
  • July 26, 2013
    KingZeal
    Needs hats for launching.
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    Just saying: Vocaloid goes with Music rather than Anime.
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    BTW does the suits of Tron films count?
  • July 26, 2013
    KingZeal
    If they have a high-tech function, yes. If they just have cool Tron Lines, no.
  • July 27, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    Does the "pop-off at the push of a button" Pimped Out Dress in Girl Genius (seen in the picture for Gaslamp Fantasy) count?

    Also, does this trope allow for Tron Lines?
  • July 27, 2013
    KingZeal
    As mentioned just above, if the Tron Lines do something, yes. If they're just pretty lights, no.
  • December 24, 2013
    KingZeal
    Needs hats before launching.
  • December 24, 2013
    DAN004
    Compare Everything Is An Ipod In The Future.

    Compare also the YKTTW "Tricked Out Trinket".
  • September 26, 2016
    DAN004
    Reading through it again, not all of Vocaloid example qualify. Some are just "digital/high tech looking" clothes that don't have gadgets, some others wear more normal clothes.

    Btw compare Magical Accessory.
  • September 29, 2016
    CactusFace
    In Heavy Rain Norman Jaydens ARI is a pair of high-tech sunglasses, which are vital for him to solve the case. It has highly advanced sensors combined with artificial reality, which allows you to instantly scan fingerprints and other clues, track invisible footprints, car tracks and blood tracks and analyse pollen in the air. It also involves four artificial offices on the mars, underwater, at the peak of a mountain and in an autumn forest, as well as an artificial salon with butler. The drawback? It leads to a drug addiction that can end up killing you in at least three scenes of the game.
  • June 7, 2017
    Getta
  • June 7, 2017
    hszmv1
    • Doctor Who: Season Nine of the new series, the Doctor rocks a pair of "Sonic Sunglasses" instead of a Sonic Screw driver, claiming it's because Wearable Technology is all the rage these days. Season 10 gives him a proper Sonic Screw Driver, but the Doctor will occasionally rock the Sunglasses if it can be more fitting.
  • June 8, 2017
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Added the word "Examples".
      • Corrected spelling (accesseries, electrity).
      • Namespaced work names.
      • De-capitalized (Sunglasses).
      • Deleted "(seen in the picture for Gaslamp Fantasy)." as per How To Write An Example - Remember That This Is A Wiki.

    Zero Context Examples have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope. Please don't remove the marking unless you add enough context.
  • June 8, 2017
    Getta
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